Russia wants 3 things from China, says FPRI

Russia wants 3 things from China, says FPRI

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in China this week is the latest sign of deepening strategic ties between the two sides.

Putin will make a two-day state visit to China starting Thursday at Xi’s invitation, it was said on Tuesday. This will be the Russian leader’s first foreign trip since Putin began his fifth term in office last week.

This comes amid the Kremlin’s growing dependence on China for trade and political support as it seeks to strengthen its “borderless” partnership with Beijing on various fronts.

“It’s pretty clear that Putin has wanted three things from China over the last two years,” Max Hess, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.

He wants a “deal” for the Power of Siberia 2 natural gas pipeline and is seeking further Chinese support for the war in Ukraine, particularly in terms of hardware, he added. Putin also wants to have access to Chinese financial markets and “use Chinese currency to promote Russian trade,” Hess said.

“We have seen really remarkably little progress on all of these things,” he added. “So it’s really about Putin going to China to see what he can get.”

Assembly pressure

In an interview with state media Xinhua published ahead of the visit, Putin said economic and trade relations between Russia and China had developed rapidly, “showing their continued ability to respond to external challenges and crises.”

He also supported China’s peace proposal on the Ukraine war and said Russia remains open to dialogue to resolve the conflict.

Beijing released a 12-point plan more than a year ago that laid out vague principles for ending the war in Ukraine. The plan was not well received by Ukrainian and Western allies.

“Putin is in Ukraine for the long haul. He has no intention of giving that up,” Hess said, adding that the Russian leader was trying to “exploit his advantages on the battlefield and on the diplomatic front with China.”

Watch CNBC's full interview with Mark Gitenstein, U.S. Ambassador to the EU

China is also facing increasing pressure from Washington over its military support for Russia.

The Biden administration on Tuesday announced tough new tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese imports to protect American industries from unfair competition.

Observers say Beijing therefore has no choice but to move closer to Moscow.

“Just look at Biden imposing 100 percent tariffs on Chinese electric vehicle exports. “All of this sends a message to the Chinese that no matter who gets elected in November, the US will try to contain them,” Ian Bremmer, political scientist and president of the Eurasia Group, said in a commentary.

“I think in the longer term, the more they see this from the U.S. and its allies, the closer they will be to the Russians.”

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2024-05-15 06:28:21